It has been almost a month since the passing of director Jonathan Demme, and the only two movies I have seen of his prior to Rachel Getting Married were The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Philadelphia (1993). Both of those had won Oscars for acting (Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster in Lambs and Tom Hanks in Philadelphia). While Anne Hathaway was only nomintated (she lost out to Kate Winslet in The Reader), her performance is well worth mentioning with the others. It may even be better than the performance that won her an Oscar for 2012’s Les Miserables.
In Rachel Getting Married, Hathaway plays Kym, a recovering drug addict who has been in recovery for nearly a decade. After finally finding some light at the end of the tunnel, she is allowed to come home for the weekend to attend the wedding of her sister Rachel (Rosemarie Dewitt).
The details of the wedding and how they are presented are spellbinding. We basically see all the wedding and meet the people through Kym’s perspective. She reunites with her father Paul (Bill Irwin) and his new wife Carol (Anna Deavere Smith). She meets her future brother in law musician Sidney (Tunde Adebimpe) and his family. We finally meet her own mother Abby (Debra Winger), whose relationship with Kym is tense to say the least.
I have read user reviews saying that the movie goes either too fast or too slow. It actually goes at just the right pace. You may think some things (such as speechs and dances) go on for too long, but isn’t that how it feels at every wedding? Especially the rehearsal part?
Hathaway is beyond words. You do begin to appreciate the performance when you realize the tragic event in her life (as well as the family’s). It is always a big credit to an actor when you forget they are playing the character in the first place.
Parents, the movie is very much not for kids. There is a lot of swearing, including one (brief) sex scene. There is also a very brief glimpse of nudity. Basically, the R rating is justified.
If you can handle it, seek the film out. Especially if you want to see what is still probably Anne Hathaway’s best performance to date.
Overall: Four Stars ****